Sinclair Broadcast Group has reportedly broken up with Nielsen and will now get its audience ratings from comScore.
According to TVNewsCheck, which obtained a copy of a letter Sinclair last month sent to its clients, Sinclair will switch to comScore exclusively starting next year. However, Sinclair in the letter acknowledged the many choices available for broadcast ratings and promised it will continue to “work with our clients to ensure their buys meet expectations.”
While neither Sinclair nor comScore responded to TVNewCheck’s requests for comments, Nielsen did, saying that it would continue to “work closely” with Sinclair.
“Our corporate policy prohibits us from discussing any client contracts or any ongoing negotiations. Sinclair is a longstanding and valued client, and we look forward to releasing our enhanced local measurement solution which will deliver best in class measurement and quality that all of our clients expect and rely on," a Nielsen spokesperson said in a statement.
ComScore did not immediately respond to FierceBroadcasting’s request for comment. Sinclair declined to comment.
However, Sinclair has made no secret of its contempt for Nielsen, so a move away from the metrics firm would make sense.
Mark Aitken, vice president of advanced technology for Sinclair Broadcast Group, said that a big financial upside to deploying the ATSC 3.0 next-generation TV standard is the potential for collecting and analyzing viewership data.
“If we weren’t stuck with Nielsen and their reading of the tea leaves, we’d have tens of millions of extra dollars in our pocket,” Aitken told FierceBroadcasting, adding that the situation between broadcasters and Nielsen has been lopsided for a long time. He added that Nielsen’s numbers are “imprecise.”
Aitken said that Sinclair also used Rentrak, which he said in many ways offers a richer set of data. In 2015, comScore merged with Rentrak in an effort to bulk up for the fight against Nielsen for the audience measurement market.